Feb 27, 2019

schlepping books - part of the writer's job description

When I set out to write books, I imagined this magical life where I would travel to cool places and meet interesting people. I would read great books and dig through library archives. I would research articles and interview experts. It would all be so literary!

Nowhere in this picture did I imagine schlepping books to the post office! But here I am... packing boxes, stuffing mailers, labeling, buying postage, distributing... all with the help of my husband, thankfully!

This part of the business can take hours out of the day... but even though I never imagined doing this, and the books are heavy and hard to transport, its actually very cool because I have the opportunity to send each one off with the hopes someone may enjoy reading it or looking at all the beautiful quilts.

I'm pictured here mailing the books that were pre-ordered for my newest title "American Cotton: Farm to Quilt." I also sold out of my supply of books at QuiltCon in Nashville, so I am shipping books to the fabulous quilters who wanted a copy of "Cotton & Indigo from Japan."

So, I now have this advice to keep in mind, or share with would-be writers: Schlepping is part of the job description of a writer!

Feb 26, 2019

unpacking from QuiltCon 2019

Just returned from five days in Nashville, Tennessee for QuiltCon 2019. My head is still spinning... and I have so many things to do, people to follow up with, new ideas, and stuff I want to make that I just can't focus on what to do next. 

I gave two lectures and it was such a thrill. My lecture on "Cotton & Indigo from Japan" had a great crowd! Thanks to everyone who got up early for this 9 am spot. 

As usual, I traveled with my quilt buddy, Amy G. And we both managed to traipse through the isles and buy a few goodies... mostly on Sunday. There were fewer people in the hall that day, possibly because of all the flooding in the region the day before. I felt sorry for the vendors, but it was a great day to look at all the booths without the crowds. 

I also gave a lecture on my NEW BOOK "American Cotton: Farm to Quilt" and I spent some time in the American Made Brand booth signing books and talking to quilters.

The lovely Marianne Fons stopped by and it was so nice to visit with her in person. We've talked on the phone before when I interviewed her. Pictured here is me, and (center) Candice Hoffman, Creative Director of American Made Brand (and co-owner of Clothworks) and Marianne Fons on the right. Marianne has made major contributions to the quilt world - she is one of the founders of Fons & Porter and other companies as well, and she is also one of the founders of Quilts of Valor.

And best of all, I got to see all the quilts on view. Below are a few of my favorites.

These two are by Carson Converse - beautiful minimalist quilts. My camera phone and the odd lighting of the convention center do not do them justice. Carson had 4 quilts in the show, two of them were awarded First and Second place in the Minimalist category. Well deserved. Her quilts are quiet and powerful... true minimalist objects that draw the eye in and keep it there, soaking up every detail.

This one below is extra large. Made by Laura Preston. Love the graphic lines and clean color.

Malka Dubrawsky (from Austin, Texas) made this beautiful triangle quilt. I met Malka at Houston International Quilt Festival last year. She is also a fabulous fabric designer.

This bold, stunning quilt below was made by Christine Ricks. I think the color and pattern are very striking and its so timeless. Christine is part of the brain-trust behind the new "Curated Quilts" magazine. Check it out here: curatedquilts.com

This one is called Pathways and it was made by Tanya Munro, from Russia. I kept coming back to this quilt... so intriguing.

Feb 6, 2019

how to lift weight of large quilt while free motion quilting

I posted this image on IG today and I was asked about how the quilt is suspended.

Years ago, I saw a system that Carol Bryer Fallert used and I took her idea and made a system of my own. Here's a link to Carol's site.

I use a portable photography stand like this one:
And I put it on either side of my quilt table.

Most of the time, I just drape the quilt over the bar. If it doesn't stay, I use a small clamp. I try not to use the clamp because its easier to move the quilt with out it. As I work different part of the quilt, I can easily re-drape the quilt to lift the part I am not working on.

Doing this is really a life saver in terms of lifting the weight... it makes it SO much easier to free motion quilt.

You wouldn't think that lifting your quilt just a few inches off the table could really help much, but it does. Saves lots of stress on your arms pushing that weight around, and actually allows better stitches because the quilt will move easier.

Here's a full image of this quilt... taken before I started quilting. The quilt is a redo of a quilt that was made in 1890s.

Feb 2, 2019

back to my roots - hand quilting

For 15 years, I quilted by hand. My friend Amy G. taught me how to quilt and she is a hand quilting genius. Her stitches are perfect and beautiful. And I wanted my quilts to be soft and special like hers. Plus, I liked that I could take my projects with me as I drove my kids around to all their activities.

Then I decided to buy a fancy new machine - a Bernina. And for the past half-dozen years I have been working only with the machine. I do love it. And it certainly is faster and allows me to expand my creativity.

But ever since I started piecing this quilt from my collection of antique Japanese indigo, I felt it just had to be hand quilted. This one is huge - so its going to take some time. But these old fabrics are already very old, some are at least half a century old or older, so I figure they can wait it out while I slowly stitch my way over this incredibly beautiful cloth.

Feb 1, 2019

my quilt on someone else's wall

I made the Moose!

A while back, I posted about a quilt I was commissioned to make. It was such an honor and so fun to make this one. The new owners have had the quilt framed beautifully.

I have quilts of my own on my walls that are attached in various ways (mostly staples...!). I am thinking of investing in frames. This one looks so professional in this frame. Love it... and honored that someone else would want to hang one of my quilts on their wall.